Treading water

We just got back from a visit with Shelley's parents (Nonna & Nonno to Gus) in Florida. Gus was in hog heaven because not only do they live on the beach and have a pool, but several of his cousins live very close so he got to play with them, and some even brought their DOGS! This kid could not have been more thrilled. The mommies were also really impressed with what an adaptable little guy we have - no problems with jetlag or being shuffled from place to place. (We on the other hand were wrecked from our red-eye flight. Thankfully Shelley's parents have plenty of coffee!)
Gus swam everyday, multiple times a day. He and Shelley go to swim lessons at the Y every Saturday, so the kid has some skills. Nonna and Nonno got him a little thin life jacket-y thing, and he was excited to have such independence in the pool. It was great to see him enjoying himself so much. He spent hours dog-paddling around and treading water.
Treading water never felt like very much fun to me. Sometimes, though, it's just what we have to do. Maintain. Currently, we're navigating how to do that in our relationship with G's birthmom. I say our relationship because at almost 20 months, Gus doesn't really have a relationship with her yet. Right now, all the relationshippin' falls fully on us. And sometimes, often, it feels like treading water. Like we are staying in the same damn place no matter how much effort we exert.
Don't get me wrong, we are committed to having an open adoption for many reasons, (some of them I've talked about here and here), and we want Gus to be able to have a relationship with his birthmom because she is just that, the person who gave him life and had to make a really hard choice. But none of this is black and white, and some of the reasons that she made that choice are also the same reasons that sometimes maintaining a relationship with her isn't the easiest thing in the world.
But I have to remind myself, relationships are often hard. Especially, let's be honest, with relatives. And that's what K is, she is related to us through Gus. It feels, currently, like there is a great chasm of grief between us. There are a lot of uncomfortable feelings from all of us churning around in there. Nobody wants to swim in it, with the exception of maybe Gus, he'd swim in anything. But the water is a little too deep and treacherous for him right now, I think. So our job is to teach him and support him and hone his skills so that he's prepared to confidently dive in at some point. Because even though the job of maintaining the relationship is ours right now, it is and always will be, about and for him.

1 comment:

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